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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 8, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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senator, what are your objections so far to the baucus plan? it's got a very good rating from the cbo. >> well, compliments to the one bill on capitol hill out of five that isn't adding to the deficit. that's very much a positive. here's where i come down. it doesn't take into consideration that practically every one of the 85% of the people who have health insurance, it's going to increase their premiums because you see the tax on insurance companies is going to be passed through. it's just natural that it will be passed through. joint tax committee and cbo says that. another thing is, this is the biggest expansion of medicaid. 11 million people since 1965 expansion. so, that's a big mandate on the states and you asked a lot of governors have objections to that mandate. and then this expenditure of close to $1 trillion still is
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leaving 25 million people without insurance. the biggest expansion of a government program ever and then, don't forget, it's partly paid for by creating problems for senior citizens by taking $444 billion out of medicare. >> well, let me take one of your points, one of your last points which is that it will still leave 25 million people uncovered, but it would extend coverage to 94% of americans. it would leave out the elderly who are covered under medicare and leave out illegal immigrants. but isn't it achieving a great deal of progress in terms of extending coverage? >> the answer is, yes. but let me explain to you how that's done and where there's a philosophical ongz on my part and another way to accomplish nearly the same thing. and that is the individual mandate.
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you know, in this bill, anybody who doesn't have health insurance, whether they can afford it or not, oh o, they might get a subsidy or not, whether they can afford it or not want it or not will have to get health insurance. if you don't get it, you'll have to pay $1,500 more to the irs. so, let's say that that's a tax and then the way around that because i have to have an alternative is a reinsurance program that can help people that are low income or people that have pre-existing conditions and things that wouldn't otherwise get insurance. so, i don't think you need the individual mandate. >> well, to that point, senator schumer was on morning meeting and this is what he is proposing today. >> okay, go ahead. >> instead of just going to the government, goes in a little account for each citizen who pays it and that will pay for health care insurance if they buy it within three years. so, it's no longer really a
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penalty, but rather sort of a trust fund to help you buy health care. >> does that schumer proposal have some merit? >> you know what, i wish he didn't vote for my reinsurance amendment when i had it before the committee a week ago. i don't know whether he's talking about exactly the same thing, but it talks a little bit about the direction that i would want to go. now, i'm surprised that senator schumer is talking against an individual mandate, if that's what he was referring to there. a lot of democrats think you not only ought to have an individual mandate, but you need to have an employer mandate, as well. you know, this is a heavy handed government. >> well, maybe you guys could go in the senate dining room today and you and senator schumer start working it out and before tuesday's vote maybe we'll have something done here. >> i have a reputation for doing that -- >> i know you do. >> we'd still be at the table if the people that white house
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hadn't pulled the rug out from under senator baucus on this. >> well, to be continued. chuck grasly, stay in touch. let me know when you work it out with chuck schumer. >> glad to do it. let's bring in chris matthews, host of msnbc's "hardball." >> do you know what he meant, senator grassley -- >> by pulling the rug out. >> what was he talking about? >> i'm not quite sure. >> was there something in the deal that he didn't put in the bill? >> let's follow up with him and let's try to find out before the end of the hour. we'll call him back. where do we go from here? >> first of all, i would love to have one of those afghan-style circles where they get around the circle and smoke pipes or whatever until they get the thing done. thatsd that's a problem there. but, seriously, i think the republicans will walk away from this bill and you just heard one of the smart republican there's. he's a great guy.
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grassley knows what he's doing. he's walking away from the table saying i'm up for anything at this point, really. if the republicans, he's complaining that the bill doesn't cover 25 million people, there's no republican bill to cover anybody. what is he talking about? that's as perfect as the enemy of the good here, what's the republican alternative? is there, in fact a republican plan that would vastly extend insurance coverage to people that don't have it right now? i don't see that alternative? i wish there was one because i really do think this country would be much better off with a moderate, modest reform measure that had 65 votes or 70 votes behind it that really would work over the next five or ten years which would push this forward so that the country would move forward progressively towards universal coverage. i think that's what most people want. the democrats are trying to get as far as they can. they're trying to leave nothing on the table, which i understand that's tough politics. but in the end, what's better is something that works because
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there's a second danger here. the first danger is the president doesn't get a bill. the second danger is next year everybody in this country is complaining about the individual mandate and blaming the government for forcing their 25 year olds to cough up almost $2,000 in penalty for which they don't even get health coverage, they just don't have to go to jail. >> 25 year olds almost half of whom are not employed, the kids at least, the young people coming out of school. >> have you paid your penalty yet because you haven't insured yourself and the kid says i don't have enough money to do it. the parent has to pay for the young adult's penalty. their excise tax so they don't have a problem with the government. >> take a look at this new poll which says 57% are against, 57/37 are against passing it with just democratic votes. so, the american people want something that does have some bipartisan support. >> the only hope, andrea, i'm
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getting a whiff of this, you're always a better reporter. i'm now going to put you in a box here. they're going for the main plan. they try to get susan collins and alimp olympia snowe aboard. they have to get to 60. i haven't heard any talk about reconc reconciliation. they're going for 60. i guess it's doable. i'm skeptable. >> it may be doable. >> i think if you pass a pure democratic bill, the republicans have nothing but an interest in bringing down the success of the program once it's implemented. >> and hanging around them in 2010. >> they want the bill after it's passed to fail after it is affecting the people at the breakfast table and the bills have to be paid. it is a terrible position to put yourself in as a party to have the other party benefit from any snag in the bill. >> speaking of terrible
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positions to be put in. let's watch a little bit of the body language from the other day from nancy pelosi and harry reid. they came out of the white house briefing and harry reid said they would sign on to anything the president decided and take a look at her face. can we rerack that and just show the eyebrows going up one more time. i wish we could hear harry reid with what he said. okay. so we showed it, we didn't hear them. he said we'll all sign on with what the president said and she takes one look. i mean, they are on opposite polls here the senate and the house. >> she represents san francisco and she represents, i know the speakers are all placed, you have to respond to the noisiest elements in your caucus who are the most passionate and, apparently, i assume just knowing the democratic house, the voices she is hearing from every day are the left who want
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out. this president never promised to get out of afghanistan. >> nee is never going to. >> by the way, he never ran on the public option. somebody has to tell these people on the left, yeah, he may like the idea of a public option and he didn't run for it and get elected. he betrayed his left-wing mandate is nonsense. >> well, take a look at what, what courtesy of our reporter up there luke russert, nancy pelosi at her briefing today when asked about the fact that somebody, some of the critics are calling her general pelosi because of her -- >> i really don't understand how inappropriate that is. i'm in my place. i'm the speaker of the house. the first woman speaker of the house and i'm in my place because the house of representatives voted me there. but that language is something i haven't even heard in decades. >> well, you know -- >> haven't heard in decades.
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>> the sex game which is the republicans and the staffer on that republican campaign committee, he's probably better off not talking like this. the over all in the house is that staffers didn't criticize members. first of all, check in and do a little hbit of history. this guy is pretty young. strong, military leaders in this world in recent history that have been tough in leading their country to victory. general pelosi, we get it. >> take a look at the number of women, look at the front page of the "new york times" today. look at the marines in harm's way. they're women. let me just clarify -- >> actually, they're in a fox hole and sitting there and i was thinking, these four women are on the front lines. >> that's for sure. >> and this staffer and that republican national campaign committee is not on the front lines. >> a place where neither you nor i would be. you raised the point correctly and i didn't pick it up quickly
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enough and according to ken strickland, what senator grassley believes is that the white house and senator reid put pressure on senator balks to end negotiations just to get something done that they could have stretched it out and gotten more done. so, that's his point of view. >> i don't think all the time in the world will work unless both sides want to deal. i think orrin hatch peeled off early, remember. a lot of guys peeled off early in the game and you wonder where they just didn't make them. listening to senator grassley, he is very attuned, already, to what are going to be the attack points in the years ahead against this measure. >> we'll have senator hatch on later in the show. >> he knows his stuff. he, obviously, knows his stuff. >> speaking of people who know their stuff. chris matthews, thanks so much. >> great being on the show. the same here. watch chris tonight on "hardball" at 5:00 and 7:00 eastern. >> you're on the chris matthews show this week. >> sunday morning, in most time zones.
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missions to the moon in decades. what is nasa hoin hoping to fin bombing the lunar surface. can democracy last in afghanistan? new poll numbers suggest growing skepticism here at mome. another family used to live here before they filed for bankruptcy. 62% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. this man is living his dream while this family lives a nightmare. if the insurance companies win, you lose. we need good health care we can afford with the choice of a public health insurance option. boss: ah! thank gecko: what's going on, sir? boss: we're slammed. tons of people interested in all the money they could be saving by switching to geico.. gecko: yeah, 'course. boss: boy, did we miss you last week. that temp wasn't working out at all. exec: took me all morning but i got those quarterly figures for ... you.
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a new poll today shows that public opinion is strongly mixed on the war effort in afghanistan and majority of americans say that the u.s. military is weakening the taliban, but most are doubtful that a stable democracy can last. susan paige is "usa today" bureau chief and joe klein a columnist with "time" magazine. i would recast to say how could a democracy even be created?
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>> a lot of skepticism. we asked two questions. is this an important reason to keep u.s. troops in afghanistan to build a stable democracy. >> from scratch. from below scratch, we would say. >> do you think any democracy is made on that front and no, they don't think there is progress being made in building a stable democracy and lots more support for keeping u.s. support there to fight the taliban and especially fight terrorists who might use that against americans. but more skepticisms about the idea of building a stable democracy there. >> joe klein, in your latest reporting in your column you said most of the whoha of obama's strategy review is smoke and mirrors. the request for 40,000 more troops is just that, an option. your point, there are a lot of options on the table and that this has been oversimplified, i think, in our reporting. >> i think that there are at least three options on the table. 10,000 troops, 25,000 troops,
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40,000 troops. what i'm hearing is that it's probably going to wind up being somewhere around the 20,000 to 25,000 troop level with the troops going into try to secure the second largest city in afghanistan, kandahar and 10,000 of whom and the others working to train an afghan army. the uth thing i would say about the democracy issue, you can make a strong case that the attempt to establish a democracy in afghanistan is destabilizing the country given the enormouses amount of corruption that we saw in this past election. i think it's really premature and almost arrogant. it was for us to try and do this, but this was one of the bush administration policies. i think that if you're going to stabilize that country, it has to be done from the bottom up, which is what counterinsurgency tries to do. >> and, in fact, what richard haas and other people suggested
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on this program you should support the warlords and not the central government. >> depends. it does, because, you know, we have, the cia supported warlords like the brothers in helmond province one of which was caught with nine tons of opium in his compound. so, you know, supporting the warlords is a little simplistic, too. i think you have to go right down to the grassroots if you're going to do anything. by the way, we owe these people after 30 years of war fare there we should try to help to rebuild their country. but, you know, there should be a time limit on that, as well. >> and, in fact, susan page, in your assessment of the american people, people want a time limit. they do not want an open-ended engagement in afghanistan. >> we did a poll the day the war in afghanistan began and then there was almost universal support for it. 90% of americans said it is the right thing to do.
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but only one out of five thought we would be there for two years. so, one thing that has been an issue for the obama administration is how long this war has gone on o. now the longest war in u.s. history, except for the vietnam war. >> and the civil war or the -- >> the revolutionary war went on longer. since we were founded as a nation -- >> so longer than the civil war. >> longer than the civil war. one thing as joe was saying, one of the things that the administration is now debating, not only whether to send more troops and how many more troops to send, but what are the goals there and what are the objectives? >> you have seen joe biden, the vice president, being an interesting participant in that debate. >> joe biden has a much larger role than a lot of people have suggested. susan page, joe klein, thank you very much, both. >> pleasure. talk about something outside of our normal worldly view. in less than 24 hours nasa is going to be bombing the moon
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live on television tomorrow morning in an effort to reveal water beneath the moon surface. nasa will crash a guided rocket into the surface at the south pole. this is expected to create a huge plume of dust and debris and analyze the dust before it crashes into the moon, as well. up next, senator debbie right here next. (announcer) that ball is going, going, gone! home run! (announcer) he's sweet. even with one third less sugar than soda. kool-aid. delivering more smiles per gallon.
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save up to thousands of dollars... on potential out-of-pocket expenses... with an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan... insured by united healthcare insurance company. call now for your free information kit... and medicare guide and find out... how you could start saving. tuesday is going to be the big day in the senate. the long-awaited vote on the finance committee on the proposed finance plan. thanks so much, senator, good to see you. >> sure. >> you've been talking about how republicans are out of touch on women's issues, particularly requiring insurers to cover basic maternal health. there was a markup last weekend. you sort of mixed it up with senator kyl. let me show our viewers what happened. >> i don't need maternity care and, so, requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something
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that i don't need and will make the policy more expensive. >> if i could just object once with my colleague, i think your mom probably did. >> i don't know where to begin, but you made the point again yesterday in the meeting that women's issues are not being adequately addressed. now, do you think the baucus bill, the compromise bill addressed your concerns? >> absolutely, andrea. it's great to be back with you and i have to say that women have a tremendous amount to gain from passing health care reform and the senate finance bill is right on target because we take away all the bad practices that have some insurance companies being allowed to call pregnancy a pre-existing condition. we allow women to be able to get their insurance without being discriminated against based on ratings. we include maternity care as a basic care a basic part of the benefit.
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62 million women in this country are of childbearing years. to say that somehow maternity care, prenatal care is not a basic really doesn't make any sense. so, the finance bill is laser focused on making sure that women get the care we need. >> let me address one of the issues that i was discussing with senator grassley a few moments ago on how, it according to him, doesn't go far enough in extending coverage. my colleague chris matthews pointed out that none plan to expand coverage at all, but that said, "the new york times" reported despite the expansion of coverage in this bill at a cost of $829 billion over ten years the budget office said 25 million people, about one-third of them, illegal immigrants, would still be uninsured in 2019 and all it said the proportion of nonelderly americans with insurance would rise over the ten years to 94% from 83% today.
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so, the question is, is that good enough? >> well, that's a huge step. a huge step forward. we make it very clear that undocumented immigrants are not covered and we'll never get to 100%, but it is a huge step forward and i believe that once you stop the discriminary practices by insurance companies, once we create a way for individuals and small businesses to be able to get more affordable insurance, that we're actually going to see those numbers go up over time. i mean, i have no doubt about that. and we've got to take an important step forward to make sure that medicare is strong for the future. a lot of this is about protecting medicare. and about making sure that we don't continue to see rates, premiums, co-pays go up and up and up for businesses and individuals. huge first step. and i would say it's more than a first step. i mean, this is a major effort to get us just about there and we'll continue to work on it.
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>> senator, i want to ask you about jobs because unemployment in michigan is more, it's over 15% in detroit and over 17%. so far above the national average for obvious reasons and the letters saying no more stimulus package but bipartisan support for extending unemployment benefits. what else do you think is necessary? whispers that some sort of job package or some sort of economic assistance on unemployment insurance? >> obviously, this is number one for me and i have to say back to health insurance that one of the very important parts of our plan is that if you lose your job, you don't lose your health care. and that's pretty basic for people. but we've got to extend unemployment insurance for people that are looking for work that are desperately trying to find work for themselves and their families. we need to be continuing to move the current recovery package out the door as fast as possible so
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we've got more construction jobs. we've got more clean energy jobs. and there are other things that we can work on to stimulate job creation. we also have to make sure that the banks are lending to our small businesses that capital is available right now so that people can go out and hire and can do business. that's a very important part of it, as well. >> debbie, thank you so much. good to see you. >> you're welcome. up next, we'll talk to republican senator judd gregg on why he says the baucus legislation does not solve the real problem of health care. while keeping the famous flavor. ♪ so many, many reasons ♪ it's so m'm! m'm! good! ♪
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while senate democrats gave a sign of relief over the cbo cost estimate for the baucus health care plan, many republicans still say that the plan leaves too many people uninsured and increases the price, the average price that americans will pay for their premiums.
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senator judd gregg is the ranking republican on the budget committee and joins us now. what is your verdict on this baucus plan now that the cbo has issued its estimates? >> massively expansion, a huge expansion the size of government. $1.8 trillion when it's fully phased in, which won't be paid for, we know that. the congress has a tendency not to do things like cut medicare $400 billion to $500 billion as suggested in this bill and take the money and fund a new entitlement. i think if you believe the congress is going to do that a few bridges i could sell you. the simple fact is this isn't a hugely intrusive effort into the area of health care using the government, basically, as a piggy bank and it is going to end up being very expensive for our children, i think. >> now, there are a number of governors and mayors who have endorsed this republicans. we heard from mike bloomberg and arnold schwarzenegger, the white house has managed to get a number of people, including
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senator frist, former majority leader frist and others who say there should be this expansion and that it's the right policy choice. what do you say to them? >> i say, what are the standards for expanding the government like this. the three standards were supposed to be that everybody had access to insurance and that you have health care and that people have to keep their insurance if they wanted to keep their insurance. but this bill doesn't meet any of those tests. cbo says of the 47 million uninsured after this is fully phased in there will still be 24 million uninsured. it says that they can't calculate cost curve and forced into this exchange situation so that they will have to pick a different insurance. i don't think it meets its own test. plus, for me, here we are with a government that is spending a lot more than it is taking in and running up a massive amount of debt that we take on to our kids and we take and we add $1.8 trillion in new spending government.
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that's like if you had maxed out on your credit card, you are, you had back payments on your house and you decide, well, i'm just going to go out and buy a massive new tv. >> but, senator, the cbo says it will actually save $81 billion over ten years. so they give it far more credit, it's a nonpartisan expert group of economists. you're challenging their numbers or just politics won't permit this to happen? >> what i'm saying is that it might be deficit neutral under the scoring system they use and i think as i mentioned earlier it is hard to believe that congress will raise taxes by $500 billion and even giving them that benefit of the doubt, even though it might be deficit neutral under those terms, it's a massive expansion in the size of the government, which will take resources that might be used, for example, to pay down the debt and make us more fiscally responsible and, instead, use them to try to finance a brand-new entitlement which doesn't even accomplish
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what its goal is which is to get insurance to everyone. you still got 24 million people uninsured at the end oof the day. >> bottom line, do you think it will have any republican votes next week? >> very few, i would think. first off, we haven't seen the language. i mean, this is still in concept and we haven't seen the merge language. they have to put the kennedy/dodd bill with this bill. until we see final language we don't know what we're voting on. this was a preliminary score from cbo based off of concepts. if it is like it is today, i don't think many republican votes because most of us don't want to expand the government in this way. >> i will put you down as a tentative no. >> put me down as a firm no at the moment. i might change, but it doesn't look like it's moving, it is not moving towards more fiscal responsibility, it is moving towards less fiscal responsibility. >> thank you very much senator judd gregg.
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let's bring in national political reporter for "the washington post" and coast author of "the battle for america 2008." dan, doesn't look as though the republicans are climbing onboard. is this a 60-vote strategy or try to get olympia snowe and susan collins? >> they're still trying very hard to get both those senators, in particular, senator snowe to come on board. i think they would like at least some cover to have a republican vote on there. but this has been, for some time, as we know, mostly democratic or almost all democratic strategy that the white house has had to employ. the bulk of the republicans decided some time ago that they were not going to sign on to this bill. the cbo numbers that came out last night on the finance committee bill that have given that bill a little bit more of a spur, but as senator gregg said, that bill has to be merged with another bill. there are three competing bills in the house. it's not clear yet what this final, final bill will actually contain.
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>> let me switch you to afghanistan, the other big issue on the white house's agenda. your own column said that the longer that brez obama awaits to make this decision, the more he will be subjected to questions about whether he is tough enough and resolute enough to be commander in chief. this was the very question that dogged him throughout the campaign for president. what are the risks here? the down side for the president as he makes this really very complicated decision where there aren't too many good options? >> well, i mean, let's stipulate you're absolutely right about that. this is not in any way an easy decision that he has to make and i think people on both sides of it would agree to that. i think people who are at the white house meeting from congress the other day who have quite different view s on what needs to be done this is a big, momentous and difficult decision. i think one of the issues was that this decision might drag on for some time.
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that after making a decision last spring about the strategy that he wanted to employ that in one way or another president obama was having serious second thoughts about whether that was the right strategy and the level of commitment that he is prepared to make to follow that strategy out. he indicated this week that he is not going to do this at a quote/unquote leisurely pace and the white house is signaling that we'll get some sense of a decision within the next few weeks. they have yet to actually discuss firmly and fully the troop level recommendations from general mcchrystal, which have arrived at the white house but haven't been taken up and probably won't be until tomorrow but the issue surrounding this in part for him is not simply to get the strategy right, but to convince people that he has the confidence in his own decisionmaking to see this through. >> how does he get around the fact that he reached a decision with a very big review and a major speech in march and now is revisiting it? they knew there was going to be
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an election and an election fought with difficulty. >> yes, i think that is a question they have been repeatedly asked and answered saying that the election did give them a time and they have always intended to look after the election to do whatever fine tuning might be needed. now, obviously, this is more than fine tune figure they send anywhere close to 40,000 more u.s. troops over into afghanistan. so, it does suggest that in one way or another they have some reappraisal and some concern in their mind. i think we're going to have to see where he comes out on this. he certainly indicated, has indicated this week that the idea of withdrawing is not on the table. >> author of "battle for america 2008." thanks so much. >> thank you, andrea. up next, we ask senator orrin hatch about all of this, the impact that the committee's health care legislation would have on the middle class. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." 90s slacker hip-hop. ♪ singer: buckle up, everybody 'cause we're taking a ride ♪
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the senate finance committee is preparing to vote on its version of a health care reform bill on tuesday and already republicans are saying it is too costly. republican senator orrin hatch of utah serves on the committee and joins us now. senator, i will put you in the too costly camp. senator hatch? >> yes. >> sorry. i was just going to ask you whether you think the baucus plan is too expensive. >> well, i think there's too much spending, no question about it. see, the way they got that figured down to a little over $800 billion is still $100 billion more than they estimated is by basically not counting the years 9 through 13 and even 14, 2014. so, they only have a bill that will be about five or six years. if you extrapulate about $1.7 trillion to $1.8 trillion on top
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of what we're doing now. too much government, too. they want to expand medicaid to 133%. that almost doubles the medicaid costs for states, for states and certainly causes extra for every state in the union when we have $200 billion in deficits in the states and then, of course, too many taxes. you're talking about $300 billion on taxes and wheelchairs and hearing aids and other medical devices and insurance and premiums will go up and, of course, a tax on their employer mandate around $23 billion more on the individual mandate, individual citizens above $4 billion more. so, keep in mind, on medicare they think they're going to get $404 billion out of medicare? come on. medicare is $38 trillion in unfunded liability. so, there's a lot of smoke and mirrors here and i don't think the american people will be hoodwinked by it. >> now, what about the hatch
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amendment on abortion because that lost. is that sort of a deal breaker for you or if you could be satisfied on the numbers, would you consider going along? >> well, i'm not satisfied on the numbers, as you know. i don't think there is anything they can do to satisfy me. first of all, this is not the final bill. the final bill is being drafted in the dark back rooms of the capital and the white house and they'll try to melt this with the totally democratic partisan bill from the health education and labor committee upon which i also said and that bill is a straight democratic big spending bill. so, this bill is going to go down from here and it's not good even in its present state. >> what do you think of senator schumer's proposal where he is proposing taking some of those bill's penalties and putting them into a trust fund for people who would use it to buy insurance in the future, if they did it in the first couple years. >> well, i have to say, i haven't studied his proposal, but i have to tell you if they
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go, with even this bill, it is going to be beyond belief in costs and beyond belief in government and beyond belief in taxes and, look, we were told that people who make less than $200,000 a year are not going to have one dime of taxes. well, let me tell you something, 89% of these tax increases that amount to around $400 billion, little less than that, it is going to be the people in the middle class who are below $200,000 a year and most of them are below $100,000 a year. >> senator, tomorrow the president is going to have another meeting in the situation room with his council of war. what do you want to hear as they finally come out in the nextoli afghanistan? will anything short of the full 40,000 troops? >> with who he picked and who we know is the top authority on
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anti-insurgency and in afghanistan says he is going to have more troops. i don't see how the president could ignore that. the president is not a military man and the people around him, for the most part, are not military people and, frankly -- >> jim jones, a marine general jim jones is his security adviser and roberts gates was the defense secretary for george w. bush. >> you have a good point there, but 2 of 20 people making these decisions and the rest of them are not that great in the military. but even if they are, the fact of the matter is the person on the ground who's right there in afghanistan who knows what the problems are, knows them better than anybody else and hand picked by the president himself and this administration, they ought to listen to him. and i think, you know, i would hope that the president will certainly try and accommodate what general mcchrystal has asked him to do. if he will, i think we will be better off over there. it is a tough problem and i don't envy the president on it and he has to be president and now he has to make these tough
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decisions and he should make the decision and let's go from there. >> senator orrin hatch, thank you very much. good to see you. >> nice to see you. for another point of view, steve mcmahon joins us now. steve, has the president opened himself up to a lot of criticism on the military issue, which is one of the toughest issues for democratic presidents because of the way they've handled afghanistan, laying out a strategy in march and then coming back in october and saying they have to revisit the whole thing. >> well, there's no question that he created problems for himself, but the president has decided that the heat is worth taking. he laid out a policy in march and like a thoughtful president, he is reevaluating the policy at every step along the way and listening to the generals and listening to general jones and listening to secretary gates and listening to a whole range of people and trying to make a thoughtful decision. this is not an easy matter. every general in the field wants overwhelming force and that's what they're taught in military school. a reason we have a commander in chief and that's to make a
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decision that balance is not just overwhelming force and chance of victory in the near term but the cost in american soldier's lives, as well. >> do you think he strategy, th situation has changed enough since march? everyone knew there was going to be an election? >> that is the question he obviously has to answer. i don't know feck convince people. what he has to convince people is he is not somebody who makes a decision and stubbornly sticks to it in spite of the fact, circumstances on the ground and in spite of changing circumstances, some times n march, he anticipated, of course that he is seeing something different from now and he is willing to make an adjustment. i think one of the reasons that the american public turned on the war in iraq so badly is because we had a president who, at the time, made a decision about iraq, wouldn't revisit it, wasn't thoughtful about it and stuck to his guns even when it was obvious that sticking to his guns was the wrong course. i hope the american people are wise enough to see that the thoughtful approach is the best approach. >> steve mcmahon, thank you so
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much. thanks for joining us. and what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? that is next on msnbc, the place for politics. it hold meack... whether i'm at the batting cages... down by the lake or... fishing at the shore. i'm breathing better... with spiriva. announcer: spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled maintenance treatment for both forms of copd, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. i take it every day. it keeps my airways open... to help me breathe better all day long. and it's not a steroid. announcer: spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. stop taking spiriva and call your doctor if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, or have vision changes or eye pain. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with spiriva. also discuss the medicines you take, even eye drops. side effects may include dry mouth, constipation and trouble passing urine. my doctor said i could be doing more to breathe better and now i am.
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what political story will dominate headlines over the next 24 hours? it is all about health care and those moderate democrats. "washington post" white house reporter chris cillizza writes the blog, the fix, on washingtonpost.com and joins us now. who are you looking at? >> you know, andrea this is fascinating, because i think the obama administration has been looking to try and find some momentum here. you know, there's nothing like a little momentum to try to get controversial legislation passed. you saw them roll out some republicans, including arnold schwarzenegger saying we need to get this done but this report last night from the congressional budget office essentially saying this bill would not increase the deficit, a critical piece in terms of getting these moderates, getting ben nelsons of the world from nebraska on board, getting
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blanche lincoln, potentially, of arkansas, up for re-election in 2010 on board. it is critical that -- this is very similar to afghanistan on of international front. it is critical for the president to unify his own caucus, all the democrats behind the bill and try as best as they can to peel off an olympia snowe or some other republican moderate to give it sort of the patina of bipartisanship but the cbo helps. the cbo i thinks will reassure the deficit hawks in the democratic party that this is not something that is going to grow the government, going to grow our already large debt even further and give them some cover to think about voting for t and that's big step from where they were a few days ago. >> although the cbo, it seems to me, may turn out to be necessary but not sufficient if you can judge from what orrin hatch and jeff grassley and some of our other guests today are saying, which is the cbo looked at the ten-year outlook, didn't take it far enough and it really will cost more and you can't estimate how the baucus bill will be
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merged with the chris dodd/kennedy health bill. the republicans, most of them are not satisfied. as you point out, olympia snowe is the one they are looking at. >> i was going to same two things, one, andrea, the devil's in the details, exactly right. this is not the final plan, the plan is going to change. the other thing, orrin hatch probably wasn't ever going to vote for the health care bill. they are really looking at a very small group of republicans they are trying to get own or two or three maybe of -- to support this. orrin hatch isn't in that group answered wasn't before. >> i guess he was the first to bolt as well. chris cillizza, thanks so much. read more from chris at his blog at washingtonpost.com/thefix. that does it for me. i'm andrea mitchell washington. among our guests tomorrow, nicole wallace, former senator -- adviser to the mccain -- senior adviser to the mccain campaign and ron brown's team, political director for atlantic media. contessa brewer and melissa francis pick it up now, it's the economy. you are watching msnbc, the place for politics. gecko: uh, you wanted to see me sir?
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the vote scheduled, the senate finance committee learn what is it will cost and save to have the health care reform plan become law. will businesses get on board and back the plan. the nation's gearing up for h1n1 spending big bucks ahead of a predicted pandemic. we will break down who's profiting from swine flu fever. and home buyers looking for a little help purchasing a house may get a break from the federal government. lawmakers are meeting right now on mortgages and lots of anticipation about whether those spend that $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers. >> the speaker of the house, first woman speaker of the house in my place. >> pelosi's putdown, a strong stand from the speaker reacting to the republican who suggested a military general should put pelosi in her place. good tuesday, whenever, i'm contessa brewer. >> i'm melissa